Texting while driving continues to be a problem for motorists all throughout the country. The Unites States is a society of multi-taskers, and unfortunately, that spirit of multi-tasking carries over to our driving. The problem is especially dangerous to teenage drivers who represent the largest demographic of those who text while they drive.
Consider the tragic story of Shelly and her husband Daren Forney who appeared on a recent episode of Oprah. Two days before Thanksgiving in 2008, Shelly’s life changed forever as she rounded the corner and approached her home. She was returning from a doctor’s appointment when she saw emergency crews on her street. Her little 4-year-old daughter Erica was riding home from school and had been hit by a 5,000-pound SUV. The SUV driver had just finished a phone call at the time of the accident and admitted she was distracted and not paying attention to the road. Erica was rushed to a nearby hospital but Ms. Forney soon received the news from the neurosurgeon that Emily was not going to make it.
Michelle Smith, the driver of the SUV, pleaded guilty to careless driving and was sentenced to two years probation, a $300 fine and 150 hours of community service.
Since Erica’s death, Shelly and Daren have worked diligently to change the laws in Colorado. I don’t want any other parent to have to go through this, or a husband to lose his wife,” she says. “We have been trying so hard to get this law changed, and we’re going to continue until it happens.” The Forney’s came on the Oprah show to deliver their message and hope that people will get off the phone when their behind the wheel. “You’ve got precious cargo in that car. Your life. Your children’s life. They are not worth a phone call, a text, an e-mail. It’s not worth it.”
According to an article published on cnn.com, nearly 500,000 people are injured and 6,000 people are killed each year because of distracted drivers who are talking, texting, or emailing while driving. So far, 19 states and the Washington D.C. have banned texting while driving and just seven states and Washington D.C. have made laws requiring drivers to use a hands-free device if they are going to use their phone. Utah’s laws are considered the most strict.
Oprah supported their efforts with a “No Phone Zone Pledge” she put on her website along with several articles explaining the dangers of texting or talking while driving.
Ron Kramer is a Utah personal injury and accident lawyer practicing throughout the state. Call the Kramer Law Group today at 801-666-3959 for a free consultation if you are in need of a Utah car accident attorney.